Additional Coronavirus Updates – March 8, 2021

New NLIHC Resources:

National Updates

Biden Administration

In a statement announcing the Justice Department’s decision to appeal the Terkel v. CDC decision, Brian Boynton, acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Division, said the ruling only applies to parties in the case, not broadly to others. The CDC eviction moratorium remains in effect.

The Biden administration announced new investments in coronavirus testing, including $650 million for elementary and middle schools and “underserved congregate settings” such as homeless shelters.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The CDC on March 2 updated its COVID-19 vaccine guidance on prioritizing certain populations, including those in congregate living settings, such as homeless shelters: “Increased rates of transmission have been observed in congregate living settings. Therefore, jurisdictions may choose to prioritize vaccination of persons in these settings based on local, state, tribal, or territorial epidemiology.”

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

According to a new report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an estimated 11 million families are at risk for eviction, with Black and Hispanic households more than twice as likely to be behind on their housing payments than white households. Read the report at: Housing Insecurity and the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Federal Housing Finance Administration

The Federal Housing Finance Administration (FHFA) announced on March 4 that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will continue to offer COVID-19 forbearance to qualifying multifamily property owners through June 30, 2021, subject to the continued tenant protections FHFA has imposed during the pandemic.


The Washington Post reports that the recent ruling on the CDC eviction moratorium may create confusion and uncertainty for renters about their rights and protections under the order. “The protections still stand now, but I do think there will be landlords now taking cases to local housing courts and filing evictions by citing this case,” said NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel.

CNBC reports on the eviction moratorium ruling, highlighting housing advocates' concerns that the ruling could trigger a flood of eviction filings. “All eyes now are on the Biden administration to see how and if they plan to vigorously defend the CDC eviction moratorium in the courts,” said NLIHC’s Diane Yentel.

MarketWatch reports on the federal judge’s ruling on the CDC moratorium, citing NLIHC’s Diane Yentel’s concerns that landlords may cite this ruling as they continue to pursue evictions despite the protections under the moratorium.

Reuters discusses the recent ruling on the CDC eviction moratorium, noting that several other federal courts across the country have rejected similar legal challenges seeking to block the federal eviction moratorium.

CNBC spoke with housing experts, including NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel, about how renters can apply for federal rent relief dollars. While federal rental assistance funds could help millions of renters remain housed, advocates worry that some people will run into challenges trying to access the funds.

CNBC discusses how the American Rescue Plan Act could help millions of households at risk for eviction. “The American Rescue Plan Act provides urgently needed COVID-19 relief resources for America’s lowest-income renters and people experiencing homelessness,” said NLIHC’s Diane Yentel. “If enacted, these investments will help prevent millions of low-income people from losing their homes during the pandemic.”

The latest COVID relief package making its way through Congress does not include an extension of the federal eviction moratorium set to expire this month because the budget reconciliation process does not allow for it. CNBC reports that advocates continue to urge President Biden to extend the federal eviction moratorium to prevent a flood of evictions, particularly since federal rental assistance and direct payments will take time to reach people. “An eviction moratorium buys that time,” said NLIHC’s Diane Yentel.

Marketplace reports that while Congress approved $25 billion in rental assistance more than two months ago, very little has gotten to renters and landlords. According to NLIHC’s Diane Yentel, as of March 1, 15 states and about two dozen local governments have started accepting applications. This number, however, is expected to pick up significantly in the coming weeks and months. According to several different estimates, millions of Americans are behind on their rent by an average of $5,000 or $6,000.

A new documentary for Time follows two single mothers in New Orleans whose uncertain housing situations reflect what is happening across the country. This dire reality is particularly impacting women of color. For the two women profiled in this documentary, the pandemic and economic fallout have compounded existing anxieties that have lingered 15 years after being displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

Next City outlines why responses to the COVID-19 housing crisis can and should address the dangerous conditions in which many tenants live. Substandard housing is a public health hazard, one which has become more dangerous in the pandemic.

Emily Benfer, co-creator of the COVID-19 Housing Policy Scorecard with the Eviction Lab at Princeton University, explains the American’s eviction crisis and discusses how the COVID-19 pandemic and economic fallout have only fueled the existing eviction catastrophe. In addition to bolstering the federal eviction moratorium and providing targeted rental assistance, the federal government must rectify the longstanding discriminatory housing policies that led to this crisis.

State and Local News


The Alabama Housing Finance Authority (AHFA) will soon begin administering relief through the $263 million Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) Alabama Program. AFHA expects to accept applications from landlords and tenants beginning March 1 at 8 am CT. Check out these flyers for landlords and renters, utility providers, and information on ERA Alabama eligibility questions,


The State Press reports that Arizona State University experts, local governments, and organizations are working together to understand how post-moratorium evictions may impact Maricopa County residents. The Knowledge Exchange for Resilience predicts that by April, 40,000 to 45,000 households in Maricopa County could be at risk of eviction.

According to the Eviction Lab, Phoenix topped the list of cities across the country with the most eviction filings during the coronavirus pandemic. The data indicate Phoenix had 16,685 filings, followed by Houston with 16,563 filings, and Memphis with 8,792 filings.


New research evaluating a hotel-based program with services for individuals experiencing homelessness in San Francisco produced better health outcomes and reduced the burden on hospitals deluged with more seriously ill patients. The findings underscore the public health benefits of providing stable housing and services to people experiencing homelessness.

The San Francisco Public Press reports that after an eight-month pause, court-ordered evictions in San Francisco have resumed, and the city’s most marginalized residents are bearing the brunt. More than half of the evictions that have occurred since the start of November 2020 involved tenants in permanent supportive housing.

The LA Times reports that Mayor Eric Garcetti’s administration has not requested reimbursement from FEMA for portions of the estimated $59 million it has spent on Project Roomkey. Activists, business leaders, and elected officials have spent weeks urging Mayor Garcetti to expand Project Roomkey after the Biden administration increased the federal cost-share from 75% to 100%.

The Los Angeles Business Council (LABC), which represents 150 L.A. businesses, has called for a significant expansion of Project Roomkey, urging Mayor Eric Garcetti and the City Council to pursue obtaining 15,000 hotel rooms. LABC says the city should take advantage of FEMA’s commitment to fully cover the costs of hotel and motel rooms through September.


The CT Mirror reports that state lawmakers are considering legislation that would provide Connecticut tenants with a right-to-counsel. Of the 180 cases where a judge approved an eviction request in February 2021, 158 landlords had an attorney compared to just 10 tenants. Connecticut is one of seven states currently contemplating providing universal access to legal aid for low-income tenants facing eviction. The right-to-counsel movement has been gaining momentum across the United States amid the looming COVID-19 eviction crisis.


Renters and landlords are encouraged to sign up for email updates from the Delaware State Housing Authority to be notified when the application portal for the Delaware Housing Assistance Program is live.


Nonprofit organizations in Palm Beach County are seeing many tenants facing eviction, despite the federal eviction moratorium. Nearly three million renters in Florida are behind on their rent payments. These organizations are bracing for a wave of evictions when the eviction moratorium is lifted.


During their first meeting, the Illinois House Affordable Housing Committee dove into data about the number of Illinois households struggling to remain in their homes during the pandemic. NLIHC reports 200,000-500,000 Illinois households are at risk of eviction and homelessness. Bob Palmer, executive director for Housing Action Illinois, offered several policy recommendations for addressing the affordable housing crisis.


The Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority announced it will begin accepting applications for the Indiana Emergency Rental Assistance (IERA) program after receiving the updated guidance from the Treasury Department.

Hamilton County is bracing for an anticipated surge of evictions when the federal eviction moratorium expires. The county’s pre-existing affordable housing crisis will exacerbate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic fallout on low-income renters.


Nearly 600 households experiencing homelessness were temporarily housed in hotels and motels during the recent severe winter weather. According to the director of the Acadiana Regional Coalition on Homelessness and Housing, Louisiana has put many people experiencing homelessness in hotels and motels during the pandemic.

Jefferson Parish on March 1 announced a new Emergency Rental Assistance Program that is now accepting applications. New Orleans’ rental assistance program is available here.


The Boston Housing Authority extended its eviction moratorium through the end of March, but housing advocates say monthly extensions and legal loopholes do not provide enough stability for Boston’s 25,000 public housing residents.

Springfield officials announced they are looking to direct even more funding toward housing services. Way Finders, the Springfield-based nonprofit that administers housing assistance programs in Hampden and Hampshire counties, reports that over 3,000 applications for rental assistance are currently being processed.


The Michigan Legislature continues to hold back a significant portion of the over $620 million in federal emergency rental assistance funds. Lawmakers are voting to appropriate only about a third of the total amount of federal funds. These delays are putting at risk organizations’ abilities to spend the funding before the September 30 deadline to obligate 65% of the funds before the federal government recaptures the remaining amount.

North Carolina

Mecklenburg County staff, nonprofits, and advocates moved more than 200 people residing in a Charlotte homeless encampment to hotel rooms. The hotel rooms and related services will be paid for with a combination of FEMA funding and federal coronavirus relief funds allocated to Mecklenburg County.

Homeless advocates in North Carolina will be sending a sign-on letter to Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary of the state Department of Health and Human Services, asking for homeless shelter staff and residents to be given immediate prioritization for COVID-19 vaccination. Earlier versions of North Carolina’s vaccine distribution plan placed high priorities on homeless shelters and other congregate settings, but that plan has been updated several times, typically to align with CDC guidance. The state’s new distribution plan downgrades the prioritization of shelf staff and residents.


Tulsa’s biggest rental assistance provider, Restore Hope Ministries, has distributed more than $3.9 million to tenants since the pandemic began. Officials are finalizing plans to increase rental assistance by 1000% in 2021 to avoid a massive wave of evictions when the eviction moratorium is lifted.


The Texas Tribune reports on the Federal District Court of Eastern Texas ruling that the CDC eviction moratorium is unconstitutional. The article highlights concerns from NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel and Texas Housers Deputy Director Christina Rosales. Rosales hopes the CDC will appeal the ruling to avoid a housing crisis and keep people safely housed amid the ongoing pandemic.

Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court Nathan Hecht penned an op-ed in the Austin American-Statesman about the need to prioritize funding for civil legal aid. The Texas Supreme Court has asked the Texas Legislature to provide an additional $3 million per year for basic civil legal services to help Texans impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA), in partnership with the Office of Court Administration, will host a Texas Eviction Diversion Program (TEDP) webinar on Wednesday, March 10 at 1 pm CT. The webinar is designed to provide legal aid organizations, legal service providers, and other interested parties an overview of the program’s requirements and process.


Department of Housing and Urban Development

Weekly COVID-19 Vaccine Update for Homeless Service Providers: Racial Equity and Vaccine Distribution – March 4, 2021

Notice CPD-21-03: Unemployment Insurance Benefits Under the CARES Act, 2021 Appropriations Act, and Presidential Memorandum – February 24, 2021

Spanish Translations of HUD SNAPS Resources